Crystal’s Corner: OpRainfall and Friends Discuss Game Endings

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

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Here’s something new I want to try. It’s called Crystal’s Corner and in here I’m going to talk about random video game things; or whatever is on my mind! Today here on Crystal’s Corner, we are going to talk about game endings. I have also invited my friends at oprainfall, and some of my own personal friends, to give their thoughts about game endings as well. Ha! I had a slight dream where I was hosting my own game related show and got to pick all the topics. Ahh what dreams I have. FYI we would totally have to give it a cooler name than that.

game endings copy

Back on topic. Game endings. Every game has one so it seems like a pretty fair thing to discuss. It is something we all have an opinion on and a preference for. We tend to like a certain style of ending for a certain game genre. What type of ending do you prefer? Something short and sweet that allows you to use your own imagination to fill in any gaps? Gaps left that can be filled in with other games? Perhaps something drawn out that gives you a glimpse as to what happens to the characters in the future. Maybe you like something else entirely.

When I brought this subject up to my friends, my first thought was, it will be fun to see what everyone says. Then it dawned on me that I would have to think about what type of endings I really prefer. After each of my friend responds, you will see with whom I agree and disagree. I hope you all enjoy this insight into some of the team here at oprainfall and myself.

I was going to break it down into a few categories, but my friend says it so eloquently that I am going to quote to you what he said and save us all the trouble of reading a very similar opinion twice.

My Friend Wes Saylor:

“Video game endings. One phrase that brings back a ton of memories, both good and horrible. An easy quick answer would be I want a good one, but after a little thought it is so much more than that. A lot of the older gamers, myself included, remember and shudder at early game endings. Frequently in the early days of gaming you would spend countless hours hammering away at a NES title, with no save feature I might add, only to reach the end of the game and be rewarded with a simple screen declaring, Thank You For Playing! Even worse was the black, Game Over nothing screen. In today’s gaming there really is no excuse for a bad ending.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I don’t want to see an ending where the whole world goes to hell in a handbasket and there is no way to save it. I’m talking about the kind where you are left scratching your head going, “what just happened?”, in a state of utter confusion. Many of you can probably agree that after playing a story driven, immersive game that takes a while to complete, and you get a 45 second snippet of a cutscene that may wrap things up in a way, but leaves so much to be desired, it is disheartening. Think Bioshock. For one of the most fantastic FPS games ever, the ending was very much anticlimactic. Some games get it right. Remember the ending to Final Fantasy 7? You’re probably smiling wistfully if you do. For me, the finale of most games ends up in one of three categories: Epic, Weak, and OMG! Examples forthcoming. Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten around to playing these yet I won’t spoil them.”
 

We will touch base with Wes shortly and find out what games he places in each category. Until then lets dive into the many opinions flying around and find out who likes what.

Final Fantasy VII Screenshot 2

A Discussion on Short Endings VS Longer Endings

oprainfall Member Oscar Tong:

“I hate short endings. A story requires a proper closure,  both logical and emotional. A few measly sentences (or the video-game equivalent thereof ) are not going to cut it. For me, long, detailed cut scenes provide necessary end-of-story catharsis. I’ve journeyed with the main characters from beginning to end and formed connections with them, and even made connections with some supporting characters. I need to know how their stories end, whether for weal or for woe. This is equally as important as seeing how the story of the fictional world and the story itself end.
 
In a sense, the characters you journey with become your friends. One does not simply wave a hasty goodbye to an old friend, then dash away, never to be seen again. No, you talk or listen at length, share stories of your experiences together, ponder the future, do your best to exchange last words, and *then* you say farewell. Victory ( or, in some cases, defeat ) alone is not closure. A storytelling game cannot—must not—content itself with a happy game over.”

 

oprainfall Member Ben Clark:

“The best endings are those that are kept abrupt! A story is a journey, and as such is more important than the destination (the ending). What I mean is: how things end should not be the focus. Sure, I advocate proper closure – but the game shouldn’t tell me about everything that happens after I leave the world. By the end of my journey, I want the ending to be so powerful that it will leave an impression on me for years to come. I want to be able to speculate for weeks over what imprints my actions have left on the world. In a way, ending a game is like dying – you have no idea what happens next in the world, you can only hope that what you have done will mean something.
 
Take Persona 3 as an example, the game did the whole “abrupt end” perfectly. As you’ve played the game you have made countless new friends, but once you finish the game you will never come back (not counting replays). That emotional departure kept me up almost all night, and wondering what the S.E.E.S bunch are up to know gave me joy in the weeks to come (This is also the reason why I refuse to play The Answer. The ending was perfect dammit!).”

 

Oscar Tong:

“I enjoyed reading your views, Ben, even if I myself feel differently. You’ve given me some insight into why some would prefer shorter endings. Personally, not knowing what happens distresses me greatly. You, on the other hand, take great delight in it. Fascinating, is it not?”

 

See, total respect. Two very valid opinions but vastly different. That’s the great thing about the staff of oprainfall and our friends. We have a common love of video games but that is where the majority rules attitude stops. We all have our own opinions which we state loudly and often! Do things get heated? Absolutely but in a fun, respectful way (most times, ha).

My personal opinion here is that I don’t want something that doesn’t give me any closure. Screw that! I want to feel like I worked towards something, like I personally affected the game and the lives of the people involved in the game. Each game of course is different. It seems now is a good time to cut to some specific endings.

Click here for page two where I start off talking about specific game ending scenarios

About Crystal Colwell

What's up everyone? Crystal here! I spend my time writing up the news for you all and keeping us all up to date with incoming game info from Japan. I do a little bit of everything else around here, too. 🙂 Happy Reading!


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  • Personally, I think my least favorite ending style is the “third-person epilogue,” where a narrator basically comes in and says “(Character) went on to (list achievements here).” It only serves to break the entire immersion a game creates, and it distances you from the people you met and loved during your experience to the point of placeholders and cliches. It also ruins the chances/legitimacy of a sequel title; considering how series like Zelda, Mario, and Final Fantasy all started as stand-alone titles, no game should be fully discluded for a second entry and another chance at telling us a story and inspiring us.